The rhetoric coming from Republicans and their presidential candidate, Governor
Mitt Romney, concerning the US relationship with Israel is downright
Republicans want to use our relationship with Israel as part
of a political game – which is terrible for US national security and bad for
Since 1948, the United States and Israel have built a
strong alliance that remains firm and unshakeable. To attempt to clumsily
interfere with that is simply shameful. Republicans are distorting the state of
US-Israel relations for partisan gain and sending the wrong signal to the rest
of the world – a signal that could lead to threats against Israel’s
When you listen to Republicans – especially their presidential
candidate Mitt Romney – discuss Israel, reality is often replaced with
distortion and fantasy. Mitt Romney claims that the Obama administration has
ignored Israel’s security needs and left it vulnerable – but that couldn’t be
any further from the truth.
President Obama shares my convictions about
the enduring bond between Israel and the US. And when you look at the record, it
is clear that there is no greater friend to Israel than this
Don’t trust my word? Look at the statement by Deputy Prime
Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, who said that President Obama has
done more for Israel’s security than any previous US administration. Ehud Barak
is one of Israel’s most decorated military leaders. He understands Israel’s
What about the word of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu? He
called the Obama administration’s security policy for Israel
On the other hand, if you listen to Republicans here in
the US, it sounds like President Obama has all but abandoned Israel’s
They are encouraging Israel’s enemies with their
misrepresentations. To them, I say: Shame on you.
Governor Romney has
demonstrated real ignorance about Israel and its security needs.
prime example of this behavior is the Republican presidential nominee’s complete
inability to articulate what his approach to Israel will be.
about his policy toward Israel, Romney famously said he would, “Look at the
things the president has done and do the opposite.” This is a terrifying
statement. He says he wants to do the opposite of President Obama? Let’s examine
what that would really mean.
Last September, when the Palestinian
Authority tried to get the UN to recognize it as a sovereign state, President
Obama stood strong and blocked that harmful maneuver. If we are to believe Mitt
Romney – that he would do the “opposite” – then he would have allowed this
unilateral action on Palestinian statehood at the UN to proceed.
President Obama, the US has sent Israel the largest-ever amount of military aid
in American history, totaling more than $3 billion per year. And just a few days
ago, President Obama signed into law a new bill that will strengthen US security
cooperation with Israel even further. But again, if we are to believe Mitt
Romney, he would have lowered Israeli aid and weakened Israel’s defenses against
the threats it faces.
And perhaps most importantly, President Obama has
stood absolutely firm in his resolve to stop Iran from developing a nuclear
weapon. The Obama administration has been clear that all options are on the
table to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear threat to its neighbors. And the
Obama administration has put in place the strongest sanctions ever against Iran
– sanctions that have increasingly punished and isolated Iran.
Romney says he will do the “opposite” – which means accepting a nuclear-armed
Iran that threatens Israel’s very existence.
Israel continues to be
threatened by rockets launched by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Iran appears intent
on developing a nuclear weapon and is the foremost state sponsor of
These are serious and complex problems that require real
leadership – for the US and for Israel.
Instead of approaching these
issues with the careful consideration they deserve, Mitt Romney and other
Republicans follow the dangerous path of twisting reality for political
It is long past time for them to stop.Frank Lautenberg is a
Democratic United States Senator from New Jersey.